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A Complete Guide to SMS Marketing for eCommerce

24 Jan
2023
A Complete Guide to SMS Marketing for eCommerce

If you're an online retailer, then you know that there are a million and one things to keep track of. In addition to inventory, shipping, and customer service, you also need to make an effort to retain customers. And if you're not using SMS services for eCommerce, then you're missing out on a huge opportunity.

In this article, we'll dive into what SMS marketing is, how it works, and why it's so important for eCommerce businesses. We'll also provide some tips on how to get started with SMS marketing. Let's dig in!

What is SMS marketing?

SMS stands for Short Message Service, a type of digital marketing that uses text messages to reach users. It's one of the oldest forms of communication, with its roots in pager technology from the 1990s.

Nowadays, SMS marketing is used by many businesses to send promotions, discounts, and product updates directly to their customers. It's an effective way to reach customers quickly and easily, and it has a much higher open rate than email marketing, 98% to be exact.

How does SMS marketing work?

SMS marketing works by sending text messages directly to your customer's phones. The messages can be sent manually or automated based on certain triggers like a new sale or product release.

You can use automation software like Sendlane to manage your SMS automations. Automation software makes it easier to track customer engagement, set up automated messages, and send personalized messages based on customer preferences.

Your messages should be succinct and concise and include a clear call-to-action (CTA). You should always include links to your website to have your customers reach the right page or product you are looking to market.

Why should you use SMS marketing for eCommerce?

SMS marketing is a great way to instantly connect with customers and is especially useful for eCommerce businesses. And with almost 2 trillion SMS and MMS messages sent in 2021, SMS marketing yields great rewards for eCommerce businesses.

High open rate increases sales

Research shows that SMS has one of the highest open rates of any digital marketing channel. Customers are more likely to take action after receiving an SMS message than after receiving an email.

In a world where people are moving faster than ever, grabbing your buyer's attention can be challenging. SMS marketing allows you to reach them quickly and easily, increasing the chances of a sale.

High ROI

SMS marketing also has a higher return on investment (ROI) than other digital marketing channels like email and social media. This is because SMS is a very personal and immediate channel that requires little to no thinking to react, and it's more affordable than paid ads!

It also allows you to easily segment your customers and target them with highly personalized campaigns, leading to more qualified sales. eCommerce businesses can also use SMS to remind customers of their abandoned carts or send follow-up messages after a purchase.How to collect phone numbers for SMS marketing

How to collect phone numbers for SMS marketing

In order to send SMS messages to your customers, you need to collect their SMS consent and phone numbers first. The best way to do this is by offering an incentive like a coupon or discount for signing up for your SMS list.

You can also use lead magnets and opt-in forms on your website, as well as in emails and social media posts. Design pop-ups that trigger personalized automations or present your forms at the best time to convert more website visitors. Best of all, Sendlane users can build pop-ups for free and integrate with platforms like Justuno. 

Sendlane discount offer sms

For example, you can create a pop-up on your website that encourages customers to sign up for SMS updates. You can also add an opt-in form to the checkout page of your online store so customers can easily sign up when they make a purchase.

How to create an SMS strategy for eCommerce

Once you have a list of phone numbers, you can start sending messages to your customers and customizing your customer relationship.How to create an SMS strategy for eCommerce

Once you have a list of phone numbers, it’s important to create an effective SMS strategy. Here are some steps to get started with your eCommerce SMS strategy.

Step 1. Register for a toll-free number

The first step to creating an SMS strategy is registering for a toll-free number. Make sure it’s short, easy to remember, and clearly associated with your brand. 

For example, you can use a vanity number like “888-123-SHOP” or a dedicated short code like “888-123”.

Step 2. Determine goals

The next step is to determine your goals. What do you want to accomplish with SMS marketing? Do you want to increase sales, drive more website traffic, or simply build relationships with customers?

Once you have identified your goals, you can create tailored messages to meet those objectives.

Step 3. Create a messaging schedule

The next step is to create a messaging schedule. This will help you be consistent with your messaging and ensure that your messages are sent at the right time and frequency.

For example, you can send out cadenced messages to promote new products or discounts. The industry's best practice is sending at least two messages a week. We recommend testing out early on how your customers respond to your messaging and adjusting from there. We've seen some brands send four messages a month and some send 15 messages a month. 

Step 4. Set up automated messages

Once you have your phone number and schedule, you can set up automated messages for different triggers like opting in or out of your list, abandoned carts, new product launches, etc.

Sendlane automated message sequence

Automation will make it easier to keep track of customer engagement and send personalized messages based on customer behavior. These automations can also be tied into your email campaigns so that you can create a cohesive omnichannel approach to marketing.

Step 5. Monitor and optimize

The last step is to monitor and optimize your campaigns. You can use analytics tools to track the performance of your messages, so you can adjust future campaigns accordingly. This will help you ensure that your messages reach their intended audiences and have the desired effect on sales.

Sendlane campaign performance dashboard

For example, you can monitor customer engagement rates, open rates, click-through rates, and other key metrics. By tracking these metrics, you can ensure that your messages reach their intended audiences and have the desired effect on sales.

Ways to use SMS for eCommerce

Now that you understand the basics of SMS service for eCommerce, let’s take a look at some ways you can use it to promote your business.

Promotional offers

You can use SMS to send promotional offers like coupons or discounts to customers on your list. This is an effective way to drive more sales and encourage customers to return for future purchases.

Ring Concierge promotional SMS
Source: Ring Concierge

For example, you can send a text message to customers on their birthdays, offering them a special discount or free shipping if they make a purchase that day.

You can also offer SMS-exclusive savings when customers sign up for SMS alerts. Once they check the box, try giving your customers a special percentage off for opting into your messages.

Reminders

You can also use SMS to send reminders about upcoming events, sales, or promotions. This is an effective way to encourage customers to take advantage of offers before they expire and to ensure that customers don’t miss out on important updates.

Lulus prize reminder sms

This SMS from Lulus reminds customers to spin for their chance to win before it’s too late! 

You can also set up automated reminders for abandoned carts, so customers are reminded to complete their purchase before it expires.

Customer support

You can also use SMS as a customer service tool by sending personalized messages with helpful information or responding to questions or concerns quickly. This will help you build relationships with your customers, making them feel valued and appreciated.

For example, you can send a message to customers who have made a purchase, thanking them for their support and providing them with helpful links or resources.

Transactional messages

You can also use SMS to send transactional messages such as order confirmations, shipping updates, and delivery notifications. This is an effective way to keep customers in the loop throughout the buying process and ensure they receive their items on time.

Wayfair transactional update sms
Source: Wayfair

By providing timely updates, customers will feel more confident about their purchase decisions and be less likely to experience buyer’s remorse. 40% of consumers believe delivery is the most important part of an online purchase, so using SMS is a great way to keep them informed.

Brand marketing

Lastly, you can use SMS to build your brand and increase customer loyalty. You can send messages highlighting your business's unique features or showcase the values that make it special.

Lifeboost promotional discount sms

Relationship building and brand loyalty are part of the long-game strategy. Perhaps your customers don't know that you offer customer support via SMS, so go ahead and tell them. This will help customers feel more connected to your brand and create an emotional connection between customers and your company.

Customer retention

If you offer a subscription service or membership program, you can use SMS to send renewal reminders to your customers. This is an effective way to keep customers engaged and ensure that they don’t forget to renew their subscriptions or membership.

Lifeboost new product sms

You can also use SMS to send notifications about new products or services, so customers can stay up-to-date on what your business offers. This will help with customer retention and encourage customers to return for future purchases.

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How eCommerce companies are using SMS marketing to improve customer experience

Now that you know the basics of SMS service for eCommerce, let’s take a look at how businesses are tailoring their SMS marketing strategies to improve customer experience.

Personalized experiences

Many eCommerce companies are using SMS to create personalized customer experiences. They’re utilizing automated messages and segmented lists to target specific customers with tailored messages. This helps create a more personalized experience and increases customer loyalty.

Increased engagement

SMS is also helping businesses increase customer engagement by sending out notifications about new products or updates. This allows customers to stay up-to-date on the latest news from the company and encourages them to interact with it more often.

Timely responses

Businesses use SMS to respond quickly to customer inquiries and feedback. This helps create a better customer experience by providing timely responses that make customers feel valued and appreciated. Our Two-Way Reply feature makes it even easier to respond to customer text messages.

Sendlane sms reply center

Best practices for SMS for eCommerce

When executed correctly, SMS marketing can be a great way to boost customer engagement and sales. To help ensure your success, here are some best SMS marketing practices to keep in mind:

Get consent

Make sure you get consent from customers before sending them any SMS messages. This will help ensure that customers are comfortable with receiving messages, and it’s also a good way to build trust between your business and customers.

Be timely

It’s important to respond quickly to customer inquiries or feedback via SMS, as this will make customers feel valued and appreciated.

Be relevant and personal

Make sure you’re only sending messages relevant to your customers and their needs. You can use customer behavior and purchasing trends to create segments and pinpoint customer wants. 

Additionally, personalization is key when it comes to SMS marketing. Include customers’ names in messages or tailor content to their interests. You can segment your customers to ensure they only receive messages that apply to them.

Shopify subscriber automation sequence

This will help ensure that customers are engaged with your brand, and it also helps to avoid any potential spam complaints.

Follow local laws

Depending on where you operate, there may be certain regulations you need to follow when sending out text messages. Be sure you understand the local laws and obtain any necessary licenses before sending out any messages.

Give customers a clear next step

If you want readers to take action after reading your text message, make sure it’s clear what the next steps are. Include a call-to-action, such as “Learn more” or “Shop now to save.”

Add images for creativity

Adding images or GIFs to your text messages can be a great way to make them more visually appealing. You can also use videos or audio clips to engage customers and make your message stand out.

For example, if you are launching a brand new item with a visual appeal, you can include sneak peek pictures to pique interest and get more people to click.

Choosing an SMS service for your eCommerce business

Now that you know the basics of SMS service for eCommerce, let’s take a look at how to choose the best service for your business.

Cost

The cost of SMS services can vary depending on the provider and the number of messages you need to send. Be sure to compare different options before choosing one, so you can find the most cost-effective solution for your business.

Features

The features of SMS services can also vary, so consider what your business needs before making a decision. Some popular features include automated messages, segmentation, Two-Way Reply, analytics tools, and customer support tools.

Customer service

Quality customer service is essential, as it can help you resolve any issues quickly and ensure that your messages are sent out on time.

User experience

Lastly, consider the user experience of the SMS service. You want to choose an easy-to-use and understandable platform, so you can manage your messages without any confusion or frustration.

What are the best SMS marketing platforms for eCommerce?

When it comes to choosing an SMS marketing platform for your eCommerce platform, there are many options to choose from. Here are some of the best platforms to consider.

Sendlane

Sendlane is an all-in-one marketing automation platform that enables businesses to manage their SMS campaigns. It allows for full integration across email and SMS efforts. With no split data, you can better track how customers engage with you and which platform they prefer.

You can segment customers, personalize messages, and send automated campaigns. It also allows you to set up SMS triggers based on customer actions.

Sendlane automations sequence for sms campaign

The Two-Way Reply center gives you a 30-day history and allows you to reply in real-time to provide that extra layer of support. It also allows you to communicate in a more conversational way and develop a better relationship with customers. These features and more are why it's the number one app for SMS marketing for eCommerce.

Sendlane sms reply center

Emotive

Emotive is an AI-powered SMS marketing platform that enables businesses to send personalized messages and offers. With Emotive, you can create segmented lists for different types of customers and target them with relevant offers.

The platform also offers an AI-driven customer service feature that allows customers to get quick answers to their questions, helping them reach the right answer faster. With Emotive’s advanced reporting and analytics tools, you can measure how your campaigns are performing and make data-driven decisions about your SMS strategy.

Klaviyo

Klaviyo is an SMS marketing platform that enables businesses to create automated campaigns and target customers with personalized messages. It allows you to track key performance indicators in real time so you can adjust your strategy if needed.

Klaviyo also offers segmentation capabilities, allowing you to target different customer groups with tailored messages. You can customize messages for different customer types, such as first-time buyers or repeat customers, and create more effective campaigns.

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No matter which SMS marketing platform you choose, it's important to keep in mind that your success depends on how well you use the tool. Make sure you understand the features of each platform and select one that best meets your eCommerce needs.

Now that you know more about SMS services for eCommerce, you can make an informed decision and get started on your SMS marketing journey. With the right strategy in place, SMS marketing can be a powerful tool to help grow your business and increase customer loyalty.

Using email and SMS marketing together

For maximum engagement, you should use email and SMS marketing together. This way, you can reach customers no matter which device they are using.

You can also set up automated campaigns that send emails and text messages at the same time. For example, you could send a promotional offer via email and SMS or confirm delivery via email and text.

You can also use SMS and email to cross-promote your content, such as linking to a blog post in an email and then sending a text message with the link. This way, you can reach customers on multiple channels for maximum engagement.

With automated SMS marketing campaigns, you can ensure that customers receive your messages in the most timely and effective manner. By using email and SMS cohesively, you can maximize your reach and drive more conversions.

Making the most of SMS service for eCommerce businesses

Using SMS to communicate with customers is a great way to boost customer engagement and sales. It’s easy to set up, requires minimal effort, and can be used in creative ways to increase customer loyalty.

With Sendlane, you can run integrated campaigns and automation that are more effective and incredibly easy to manage. Our SMS marketing services make reaching your customers easy and efficient.

Combine your efforts with our email and SMS marketing platform to create more effective eCommerce campaigns that save you time and increase your sales. Ready to use the power of email and SMS messaging for your eCommerce business? Book a demo today and learn how you can save up to 40% on your email & SMS bill! 

SMS service for eCommerce FAQs

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